Category Archives: Uncategorized

City-wide Master Plan Reception to be held on September 12

Join your neighbors, Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell and City of Kalamazoo staff on September 12 to review and discuss the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Master Plan!

At 7:00 p.m. Mayor Hopewell will be joined by City staff to give a presentation on the Imagine Kalamazoo process, the Master Plan, and what comes next in Kalamazoo. Before and after the presentation, attendees can review the Master Plan with City staff, offer feedback, and participate in activities related to the plan. Light refreshments will be provided.

Parking is available on-street and in the lots across from the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts on South Street and Lovell Street. Both the North and South entrances to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts may be utilized.

Join us to see the result of over a year of community discussions and learn about what comes next once the new Master Plan is adopted!

RSVP on Facebook here.

City Commission Approves Incorporation of Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence

The Kalamazoo City Commission passed a resolution approving incorporation of a new foundation, known as the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence (FFE), organized for the purpose of supporting and benefiting the operation and programs of the City of Kalamazoo.

The Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence is a project of singular significance for the fiscal well-being of the City of Kalamazoo. Two lead donors initially provided $70.3 million over three years to stabilize the City’s budget, to lower the property tax rate from 19.2705 mills to 12 mills, and for $10 million of aspirational community projects annually in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

It is the objective of the FFE to raise an additional $500+ million in order to endow the FFE’s work in perpetuity.

The Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation included in Monday night’s resolution were the product of significant work by staff based on the Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Kalamazoo and the lead donors that was approved by the City Commission at its October 24, 2016 Work Session. Additional City Commission Work Sessions were held on October 24, 2016, as well as January 23, July 24, and August 7 of 2017 to thoroughly explore aspects and details of FFE’s creation and to offer extensive and open opportunities for public comment.

Numerous technical, human, and economic resources were consulted to inform the planning of the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence, but few will shape the FFE’s work as definitively as the citizen input cultivated by the Imagine Kalamazoo process or its resulting ten-year Strategic Vision, which was approved by the City Commission on July 17, 2017, and forthcoming Master Plan.

Information on the Kalamazoo Foundation For Excellence can be found at http://www.kalamazoocity.org/ffe.

Foundation for Excellence Resolution (Final Draft)

Foundation for Excellence Articles of Incorporation

Foundation for Excellence Proposed Bylaws

Discussion of Foundation for Excellence Articles and Bylaws to Continue on August 7

The Kalamazoo City Commission will continue the discussion of proposed Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for the Foundation for Excellence during its regularly scheduled August 7 meeting. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall. City Commission meetings are also televised on PMN Channel 190 and on the City of Kalamazoo’s YouTube Channel.

Draft Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation were introduced to the City Commission during a Work Session on July 24. City staff have prepared additional information related to issues that were raised at the Work Session, which is available with the Meeting Agenda.

Following this additional discussion at the August 7 meeting, it is anticipated that the City Commission will consider the Articles and Bylaws for approval on August 21.

Draft Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for the Foundation for Excellence, July 24, 2017

Revised Articles of Incorporation, August 3, 2017

Revised Bylaws, August 3, 2017

 

 

August 8 Meeting Will Explore Redevelopment Ideas for 116 W Cedar St

The City of Kalamazoo’s Economic Development Department will host a public meeting to discuss ideas for the redevelopment of the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority-owned property at 116 West Cedar Street in downtown Kalamazoo. The meeting will be held in the Van Deusen Room of the downtown branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8.

The structure at 116 West Cedar was built in 1957 as the City of Kalamazoo Fire Station No. 1.  It has also been used as the Fire Marshall’s Office and the Kalamazoo Public Safety Training Facility. After the building was decommissioned, ownership was transferred to the City of Kalamazoo Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and it has been used for storage since 2008.

The approximately 0.76-acre property contains the 14,803-square-foot building, parking and landscaped areas.  It is located in a commercial business district in downtown Kalamazoo.

“We want to hear what the community wants,” said Sara Jo Shipley, Redevelopment Project Manager for the City of Kalamazoo. “How can we be creative and take advantage of this building? What type of development would succeed here? What would add to the downtown experience for our city’s residents and visitors?”

The open house-style meeting will focus on building design, streetscape, potential uses, sustainable features, pedestrian facilities, and public art. Community members are encouraged to share ideas and are welcome to “drop-in” at any time during the open house.

The property was added to the City’s Brownfield Plan in 2004 to create development incentives once the property is made available for private acquisition. Economic Development staff will convey the types of uses and design features requested by our community to potential developers in a request for proposals for the property.

National Night Out Against Crime to be held Tuesday, August 1

On Tuesday, August 1st, citizens throughout Kalamazoo are invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for National Night Out 2017: America’s Night Out Against Crime.

This year celebrates the 34th Annual National Night Out event. On this occasion, residents in neighborhoods throughout Kalamazoo and across the nation are asked to promote police-community partnerships; crime, drug, and violence prevention; safety; and neighborhood unity.  Many neighborhoods will be hosting a variety of special events such as block parties, cookouts, and youth activities.

Events in the City of Kalamazoo will be hosted by the following neighborhoods:

EASTSIDE - Neighborhood Association, Rockwell Park 1106 Trimble St from 5-7 PM.

EDISON - Neighborhood Association, 816 Washington from 5:30-6:30 PM.

NORTHSIDE - Neighborhood Association 612 N. Park from 6-8 PM.

VINE – Neighborhood Association, Vine St. at Locust from 5:30-7:30 PM.

MILWOOD - Neighborhood Association Greenwood Reformed Church, 1815 Winton from 6-8 PM.

PARKVIEW HILLS – Parkview Hills Club House; 3307 Green Leaf Blvd from 7-9 PM.

STUART- Neighborhood Association Elm St. Park (Westmain/Elm) St from 6-8 PM.

ARCADIA -Neighborhood Association @ Arcadia Elementary 932 Boswell Ln 6-8 PM

Americana Estates -  1802 Tray Lane (near playground) 6:00PM- 8:00PM

National Night Out is an enjoyable way to promote neighborhood spirit. On August 1st, 2017, we invite citizens to celebrate with us and their fellow neighbors.

City Commission to Discuss Foundation for Excellence at July 24 Work Session

On Monday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m. the Kalamazoo City Commission will convene for a work session focused on the Foundation for Excellence. The work session will be held in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall and will be televised live on Public Media Network Channel 187 and streamed on the City of Kalamazoo’s YouTube Channel.

The specific focus of the meeting will be the proposed bylaws and articles of incorporation for the new Foundation for Excellence. Since the FFE was approved in October 2016, City staff have explored best practices and worked with community partners and donors to draft the legal structure and rules of the Foundation. They will be presented to the City Commission for review and discussion and could be presented for approval as early as the August 7 meeting.

The documents spell out the details of how the FFE will operate, such as how the Board of Directors and Officers are selected, how meetings are scheduled and conducted, how projects are ultimately chosen for funding and the relationship between the FFE and the City Commission.

“We did our homework before preparing these documents and have consulted with our community partners, the Michigan Council of Foundations and reviewed other foundations across the country with similar missions,” explained City Manager Jim Ritsema. “The structure and bylaws we will present will set the FFE up for long-term success and provide funding to make our aspirations a reality.”

The proposed bylaws and articles of incorporation are available here.

In addition to $70.3 million to fund a three-year transition period through 2019, the Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the lead donors included a commitment to assist in a fundraising effort to raise the approximately $500 million needed to fully endow the Foundation and sustain its work in perpetuity. After the documents are approved, this fundraising effort will begin and the Foundation’s Board of Directors will be selected.

Several Kalamazoo residents have already shown their support for the Foundation’s work by electing to donate a portion of their 2017 property tax savings back to the FFE.

“We are continuing to see strong support for the Foundation for Excellence and for the important investments that it will enable in our city,” said Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell. “With each step in the progress we are getting closer and closer to ensuring this will continue for generations to come, making our city a better place and helping all in our community to realize their potential.”

Celebrate Summer Downtown at June Jubilee June 2-4

June Jubilee, the official kick-off to summer in Kalamazoo is quickly approaching. Head downtown June 2-4 for a wide variety of events for everyone to enjoy including the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts  Fair in Bronson Park, Art on the Mall, Art Hop, Animotion Festival, the Do-Dah Parade, and much more!

In order to keep downtown as safe as possible for all participants attending the events, road closures are necessary. Please see the following list of closures, and contact the event organizer if you have any questions.

South Street- Closed from Park St. to Farmer’s Alley

  • Friday, June 2: South Street will be closed beginning at 7:00 a.m. to accommodate Art on the Mall, organized by the Kalamazoo Arts Council.
  • Saturday, June 3: South Street will remain closed through 5:00 p.m. to accommodate the KIArts Fair in Bronson Park, organized by the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.
    • South St. from Park St. to Rose St. will reopen to traffic at 5:00 p.m.
    • South St. from Rose St. to Farmer’s Alley will reopen to traffic at 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 4: South Street from Park St. to Rose St. will be closed between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to accommodate an event being held by the First Presbyterian Church.

PLEASE NOTE: Access to Peregrine Towers and the Miller Canfield parking structures will be maintained. Signs will indicate what portion of the road is open for parking structure access only- no street parking will be permitted. From South St, there will be a right (north) turn only onto Rose St.

Kalamazoo Mall – Closed from Kalamazoo Avenue to Lovell St

  • Friday, June 2: The Kalamazoo Mall will be closed beginning at 7:00 a.m. to accommodate Art on the Mall, organized by the Kalamazoo Arts Council.
  • Saturday, June 3: The Kalamazoo Mall will remain closed through 7:00 p.m. to accommodate Art on the Mall, organized by the Kalamazoo Arts Council.

Do Dah Parade

  • Saturday, June 3: The following road closures will be in effect between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. for staging the Do Dah Parade, organized by Kalamazoo Experiential Learning Center: Portage Road between Lovell and the Portage-Pitcher Connector, Jasper Street between Lovell and Walnut, Lovell Street between Portage and Pitcher.
  • The Do Dah Parade Route is the same as previous years and is as follows: starting at the intersection of Portage and Lovell, West on Lovell, North on Park, East on W. Michigan, South on Portage to Lovell.

If you have any questions about these events or the closure of streets, event organizers may be contacted using the information below. The City of Kalamazoo’s Special Event Coordinator, Katie Broekema can be reached at broekemak@kalamazoocity.org or (269) 337-8006.

Event Organizers

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts – Carianne Zomonski (269) 349-7775
Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo – Beth McCann (269) 342-5059
Kalamazoo Experiential Learning Center – Deb Droppers (269) 388-2830
First Presbyterian Church – Brian Nederveld (269) 344-0119

We appreciate your understanding and look forward to celebrating the arrival of summer in Downtown Kalamazoo!

Draft Kalamazoo Climate Action Plan Now Available for Public Review, Comment

Since January 2017, The City of Kalamazoo has been collaborating with students in the Master of International Development Administration (MIDA) program at Western Michigan University to develop a climate action plan for the City of Kalamazoo,

The students were enrolled in the MIDA program’s capstone seminar, Political Science 6380: Planning Development Programs. This course typically involves planning hypothetical projects that could be implemented somewhere in the  developing world. This year the class was presented with a unique opportunity to collaborate with the City to develop a plan to address challenges that will arise due to our changing climate. In the midst of the Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 project, then-City Planner Rebekah Kik challenged the class to identify the most important actions the City of Kalamazoo could take to minimize its contribution to climate change.

Since then, the class has talked with dozens of local stakeholders and examined what other communities across the United States are doing or have done to address these issues. The results of this effort is a draft Climate Action Plan for the City of Kalamazoo.

UPDATE, MAY 2, 2017: The public comment peried for this plan has ended.  

Have a Safe and Enjoyable Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires and the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, along with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is urging the public to keep safety in mind when preparing holiday meals.

Cooking fires are more likely to happen on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In 2014, nearly four times as many home cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than compared to any other typical day. US Fire Department’s respond to approximately 1,730 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day.

NFPA studies show cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Hundreds of Americans are killed each year due to home cooking fires and thousands more are injured. Annually, cooking fires cause more than half a billion dollars in direct property damage to homes and the belongings inside. The leading contributing factor to these fires is unattended cooking. In fact unattended cooking is also the contributing factor in fire deaths. Cooking equipment is involved in almost half (48%) of all reported home fires and civilian fire deaths.

It can be easy to get wrapped up in entertaining guests, but it is important to remember to monitor meal preparation closely as most cooking fires start because cooking has been left unattended.

NFPA offers these tips for safer cooking:

Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.

If you must leave the home for even a short period of time, turn off the stove or oven.

If you are simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food, check it regularly and remain in the home while food is cooking. Use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.

Stay alert. Don’t cook if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy.

Keep things that burn – potholders, oven mitts, paper or plastic – off your stovetop.

Don’t store things that can burn in an oven, microwave, or toaster oven.

Clean food and grease off burners, stovetops and ovens.

Wear clothing with sleeves that are short, close fitting, or tightly rolled up.

Keep kids away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.

Use the stove’s back burners whenever possible, and turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk that pots with hot contents will be knocked over.

Never hold a small child while cooking.

Turkey Frying

Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety urges consumers to use extreme caution when preparing their holiday meals with a turkey fryer because of the dangers frequently associated with the devices. Tests have shown that the fryers have a high risk of tipping over, overheating, or spilling hot oil, leading to fires, burns, or other injuries.

The cooking method, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, requires placing the turkey in three gallons or more of oil, heated by propane. Some opt for frying, believing it delivers better taste and cuts down on cooking time; but the units have come under scrutiny as Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., an independent product safety-testing organization, has decided not to certify any turkey fryer with their UL mark.

Some concerns about turkey fryers:

When the turkey is placed in the hot oil, oil may spill onto the burner, creating a fire.

The units can easily tip over, spilling hot, scalding oil onto anyone or anything nearby.

Most units do not have automatic thermostat controls, so oil may heat until it catches fire.

The sides, lids, and handles get extremely hot and may cause burns.

The Bureau of Fire Services urges consumers to use cooking equipment that has been tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.

“Unattended cooking is the primary cause of residential fires, By simply oven-roasting a turkey the traditional way, or ordering a fried turkey from a grocery store or caterer, who are experienced in deep frying food and use professional-grade frying equipment, consumers can reduce the chance for serious burns and injuries.”

However, if a turkey fryer is used, here are some tips for safer use:

Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other material that can burn.

Never use turkey fryers on wooden decks or in garages.

Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.

Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls causing the oil to continue to heat until it catches fire.

Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours after use.

To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.

Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect eyes from oil splatter.

Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over, causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.

The National Turkey Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird thawed in the refrigerator. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby and use it if the fire is manageable. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Bronson Park this Friday, November 25

Kalamazoo’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is only a few weeks away! Join us from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 25 as we celebrate the season and light up Bronson Park! Have a cup of hot chocolate while the children enjoy creating their own arts and crafts, visits from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, ice carving, and a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Hot chocolate donations will be accepted with proceeds benefiting the YWCA Kalamazoo’s Domestic Violence Shelter. The tree lighting ceremony will begin at 6:00 p.m. After the event, hop on the Holly Jolly Trolley and take a trip to one of your favorite downtown spots!

Schedule:

5:00 – 6:00 Kids Craft Tent sponsored by Kalamazoo Valley Museum
5:00 – 6:00 Reindeer from GG Reindeer Farm
5:00 – 6:00 Ice Carving Display by Ice Brigade
5:20 – 6:00 Children’s Music by Small Sounds
** 6:00 Tree Lighting Ceremony begins **
6:20 – 7:00 Live holiday music from Kaitlin Rose
6:20 – 7:15 Kids Craft Tent sponsored by Kalamazoo Valley Museum
6:20 – 7:15 Ice Carving Display by Ice Brigade
6:20 – 7:30 Reindeer from GG Reindeer Farm

Miss Greater Kalamazoo Shelby Lentz will also be appearing throughout the event (Miss Greater Kalamazoo Scholarship Program)

Food trucks:
Sloppy’s
Coffee Rescue
Kalamazoo Doodles
Lazy Man BBQ
Windy City K-9 Unit
Organic Gypsy
Gorilla Gourmet

Artwork by Joshua Plaunt